In the middle of last month, I passed the six-year mark as a blogger. Wow! While I never doubted it would happen when I started, it is astounding how quickly the time has passed. Over the years, I’ve had readers ask about the ins and outs of writing a blog. Some were simply curious while others thought they might want to start their own.
At the six-year mark, it seemed like an apt post as I march past this milestone.
A Few Stats
So, what does six years of content mean? For the first four and a half years, I posted weekly and, since then, it has averaged twice per month. It means…
- I am fast approaching the 300th blog post. 300!
- With a post’s average length being 2,000 words, I have written 600,000 words on all things RV life. For context…that is more than 10 books the length of Alaska Shelter.
- Well over 5,000 hours dedicate to the blog and website.
Pros and Cons of Writing My Blog
I must emphasis that everything in this post has been my experience. Ask another blogger their stats, the numbers will be wildly different. Another blogger’s pros and cons might be similar. But, just as likely, they might not be.
Now…on to the lists. Let’s start with the cons.
Cons of Writing a Blog
These are the things that aren’t fun and the reasons why, on occasion, I wonder whether I should keep writing a blog.
Hands down, the amount of time it takes to write and maintain a blog is the number one con for writing a blog. For the first five years, I put up new content every week. For me, it takes 18 hours (on average) to write and post a new article. Writing is half the time. I’m a slow writer which is one reason I must write about five to six hours every day during the NaNoWriMo challenge ever year if I want to complete it.
The other half is selecting, editing, uploading photos and writing the alternative text for the photos (it is a word description of the photo for the visually impaired). Then the final step includes SEO work so search engines understand the content, preparing the email to subscribers and scheduling social media to promote the post.
The minutes and hours add up for sure.
Without including internet and computer costs, keeping the blog costs about $60 per month. This includes the monthly costs of site care / nightly backups ($20), domain hosting ($10), domain name registration ($1) as well as paying for IT help when issues arise. The last one is only once every year or two but it ends up costing several hundred to resolve thus the $60 average.
Others have suggested if I do X or write about Y, the income I generate would rise exponentially. And the fact is, it is probably true. I certainly have moments where I think if I change the direction of the blog, it might pay for itself. In moments of grandeur, I even think maybe it might be a way to make ends meet on the road. But the problem for me is that I want to write what I want to write. I want to share what I want to share. In other words, it costs me $60 a month to maintain the blog.
IT Knowledge, Maintenance, Updating
Issues with the hosting site, the platform and other things I don’t even know the name for are the most common problems I’ve had over the years. Once I had a site revamp (and have recently been considering another one to freshen up the look of the website). But none of these falls within my knowledge base so I must hire help. That means dealing with someone else’s time table and, as stated, paying the going rate for IT assistance.
Depending on how personal one’s posts are, the disclosure of personal information can be scary. You never know how readers will respond to what you say and what judgements (and potentially mean and hurtful comments) might ensue.
I remember when I wrote the first post where I felt truly vulnerable. It was milestone post number 100. I was nine months into life as a full-time RVer when I explained how terrifying I found those first days to be, how full of doubt I was about the decision I’d made to radically change my life.
But the response I received from readers was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. It taught me a lot about the power of amazing readers and it gave me the confidence to not fear writing an occasionally vulnerable post. That, of course, is the flip side of this con and it is very much a pro.
That said, let’s move on to the pro list.
Pros of Writing a Blog
The pros of writing a blog exceed the cons. For sure. If they didn’t, I doubt I would still be setting aside other items on the “to do” list to get posts done. But what are the pros? Here are mine…
A Record of the Journey
You know how you have a great experience and think you’ll never forget the smallest details? Then a few years later (or even months) you are sharing the story and—yep—you forget the details of the experience. I didn’t want that to happen in RV life so the number one pro for writing a blog is entire selfish and self-serving.
I wanted a record of my journey.
But a record of the journey is just as easily recorded in a journal. So why the blog?
I wanted to share my adventures with friends and family. Plus, I wanted to share RVing-related information with those who came after me. It was a way, I suppose, to pay back the community of RVers and travelers who were so valuable in my journey preparing for a full-time RV life. I wanted to do my part to add to the information available.
I especially like the information I share about the adventures I experience along the way. It is interesting that those are my favorite to share, favorite to write and yet the least visited posts. It’s understandable I suppose. I write about a specific place and if you haven’t been there or don’t think you’ll ever get there, why read about it?
Finding a Tribe and Connection
One of the things I felt when I started out was alone. It was overwhelming to feel at the mercy of the RV not breaking down in a state where you knew not a single soul. It was overwhelming to find favorite items in a grocery store you’d never been in. Overwhelming to know whether the vet you were taking your pet to was a good one or a hack since you always relied on personal recommendations of trusted friends.
These remained true but as I met people, made friends and generally found my tribe, I felt less alone and less overwhelmed. Finding others who have similar passions and challenges is a big pro on the road. But what does any of this have to do with writing a blog?
I found many of my friends, contacts and people to reach out to via the blog. Or, rather, they found me and we have created a bond. Some people I consider friends despite the fact we have, up to present, not met in person. Though many people I have crossed paths with on the road.
I’ve made so many more friends and meaningful connections than I ever could’ve imagined when I started the journey.
Improve Writing Skills
I am a slow writer and that hasn’t changed. But writing a blog has made me a more confident writer which was a big change. The first couple of years, I asked friends to read every post before I put it up on the website. I was so nervous I’d say something wrong or stupid. But no longer. That has been a positive transformation.
The other thing I think about frequently is a well-known writerly quote that says you can call yourself a writer if you have written today. Basically, don’t talk about writing. Rather, write. It sounds obvious but so many (myself included for many years) talk incessantly about story ideas, the art of writing, the title of writer. All without actually ever putting pen to paper, as it were. No longer.
Most days, I can legitimately call myself a writer. Writing a blog has done that for me.
One of my best adventures to date in RV life was getting to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I parked Quill in one of the lots next to the launch field. I’d hoped to attend the upcoming 2022 Fiesta—the 50th anniversary celebration—but, alas, I was unable to secure a spot. I, and 5,000 others, remain on the waitlist so I am not hopeful.
Regardless, it was a delight to be issued a media pass at the last Fiesta. It offered me wonderful perks and gave me a huge sense of legitimacy as a blogger.
In addition to the media pass, I have received free entrance into museums and other adventures in exchange for writing about my experience. It has been a win-win. The adventure entity gets a write up and I save a little bit on the budget.
Here is the list of posts I wrote to fulfill my part of the deal for receiving the pass:
- Ins and Outs of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
- ABQ Balloon Fiesta: What Attendees Need to Know
- Tips for Attending the ABQ Balloon Fiesta
- RV Accommodations at Balloon Fiesta
- Story of My Balloon Ride (and Crash)
Potential Source of an Income
Even though this hasn’t been true for me, I still see it as a pro. Or, at least, a potential pro. You’ve been on enough websites and blogs to know what I’m talking about. People sell services, manuals, merchandise, etc. and use the blog as a way to promote those things. For some, it can be a way to make a living.
Ad revenue is also a source of income for many bloggers. I actively chose not to have ads on the blog as I loath sites that are filled with them to the point it is unclear where the content begins and ends.
I still have plans to get some Supersize LIFE and Oliver trailer merchandise on the website so I’m not completely without making income via the blog. Additionally I have a donation link. But for me, I see it as something to help offset the actual costs of the blog rather than a way to make a living.
Joy of Sharing and Helping Others
I can’t tell you how my heart sings every time I get an email from a reader saying how much they enjoy the blog or how a particular post helped. For me, I started the writing the blog with the hope of helping others but I didn’t expect that I’d ever actually know if I had. So, these emails are a big reason why I would find walking away from blogging difficult.
This blog never got as big or popular as I hoped and envisioned during the planning phase or the early years of writing the blog. But my little piece of real estate on the word wide web brings me pleasure, joy and friendship. And that is more than enough.
Links to Other Relevant Posts:
- I Sold My First Book!
- NaNoWriMo and Stargazing: Two Bucket List Items
- Supersize Life Blog: The Same But Different
- First 72 Hours of RV Life: Not for the Faint of Heart
To see products recently purchased by readers or to browse and shop at Amazon, follow any of these links. Huge thanks for your support.
- Modkat Litter Box, Top-Entry, Includes Scoop and Reusable Liner
- Bamboo Cutting Boards for Kitchen, Set of 3
- Copper Chef, Non-Stick Bakeware Set for Oven with Crisper Pan and Cookie Sheet
- Professional Measuring Glasses
- 2 in 1 Salad Dressing Shaker Container with Citrus Juicer, Dripless Pour, Leak-free, Soft Grip
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